Hong Kong Popular Culture—Imagining a Research Field


The UBC Hong Kong Studies Initiative, in partnership with the Hong Kong Studies Programme at the University of Hong Kong and the Department of Sociology at the Hong Kong Baptist University, is pleased to announce an online workshop on Hong Kong popular culture to be held on May 1–2, 2021 (Hong Kong time).

The popular culture of Hong Kong has long been recognized as one of the city’s most distinctive and important features. Yet, despite—or perhaps because of—its ubiquity, it has also been understudied and undertheorized.

Our goals for this workshop are three-fold: first, we are interested in expanding the range of subject matters that could and should be examined under the umbrella of “popular culture”; in addition to films, TV shows, and pop music, we particularly look forward to thoughtful analyses of “less legitimate” popular cultural genres and practices.

Second, we would like to facilitate conversations that would lead to innovative ways of situating the distinction and/or importance of the popular culture of Hong Kong. We welcome the placing of Hong Kong’s popular culture in, among others, critical theoretical, comparative, feminist, historical, politico-economic, cultural-sociological, or Sinophone frameworks.

Third, we are especially interested in bringing together scholars from diverse disciplinary backgrounds as well as those who are at different stages of their academic careers. We believe inter-disciplinary as well as inter-generational conversations are particularly fruitful for the discussion of popular culture.

For details and meeting links, please visit:


(All times listed are in Hong Kong Time)

Opening (Saturday, 1 May 2021, 08:00)

Matthew M. Chew (HKBU) x  Stephen Chu (HKU) x Leo K. Shin (UBC)

​Panel 1: Hong Kong (in China) Studies (Saturday, 1 May 2021, 08:30–10:00)

Raymond PAI, The University of British Columbia

Hong Kong Popular Cultures in Diaspora: The Case of Jia Zhangke’s Cinema
Calvin HUI, College of William & Mary

Hong Kong Films After 2004
ARIE Kazumi, Tokyo University of the Arts

The Post-Socialist Labor Heroine in The Risky World of Business and Finance: The Mainland-Hong Kong Encounter, New Work Ethic and the Collective Fantasia of a New Financial Age in the Early 1990s
Emma ZHANG, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Panel 2: Digital Cultures (Saturday, 1 May 2021, 10:30–12:00)

Calvin HUI, College of William & Mary

Transnational (Plat)Form and Local Contents: Virtual Youtuber as an Emergent Node
LI Chung Tai, Kris, Osaka University

An Anonymous Narrative: A Study of HK Online Pop Culture on The Public Forum
Alston LI, Peking University

“The Yellow Gloves Chaos” and Beyond: Hong Kong Online Comics as an Emerging Visual Public Sphere
CHU Kiu-wai, Nanyang Technological University

Panel 3: Popular Culture and Social Movement (Saturday, 1 May 2021, 13:00–14:30)

Maggie LEUNG, The University of Hong Kong

Sau Leng and Sau Sing Kei: Contemporary Hong Kong Rap as Generational Discourse
Felix CHOW, The University of Hong Kong

Independent Music in/for Social Movements in Hong Kong: An Insider Perspective
WONG Hei Ting, National University of Singapore
KWONG Chung Ting, Independent Scholar

Contentious Repertoires Through Popular Culture: Examining the Lennon Walls in Hong Kong’s Anti-ELAB Movement of 2019
LI Yao-tai, Hong Kong Baptist University
Katherine WHITWORTH, University of Sydney

Panel 4: Cultures of Everyday Urbanism (Saturday, 1 May 2021, 15:00–16:30)

Helena WU, University of Zürich

Yau Ying: The Creation of Style as an Exercise of the Right to the City
Maggie LEUNG, The University of Hong Kong

The Tuen Mun “Dancing Aunties”: The Contradiction Between Life Satisfaction and Violation of Norms Among Dancing Activity in Tuen Mun
LEUNG Ho-man, Leo, Lingnan University
MO Kwan Tai, Michael, District Council of Tuen Mun

Caacaanteng: Popular or Hong Kong Culture?
Samuel Dic Sum LAI, The University of Hong Kong

Panel 5: Dark Narratives (Saturday, 1 May 2021, 17:00–18:30)

Emma ZHANG, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Where Have Our Zombies Gone?: Community Building in (Post-)Apocalyptic Hong Kong
Helena WU, University of Zürich

Ghost in the (Hong Kong) Shell: Reexamining Hong Kong’s Urbanscape in Cyberpunk Films
ZHANG Wenxin, The University of Hong Kong

Re-Conceptualizing the Post-Covid World Through Jianghu Noir, Or the Hong Kong Cinema of Space
Dickson C. L. CHEUNG, Hong Kong Baptist University

Panel 6: Hong Kong Pop Music and Identity (Sunday, 2 May 2021, 08:30–10:00)

Leo K. Shin, The University of British Columbia

“Deng Xiaoping is Coming to Town”: Reflections of Identity in Late-Colonial Hong Kong’s Cantopop
Charmaine LAM, University of St Andrews

The Affordances of Hip-Hop Culture in Cantonese Language Teaching Practices
Raymond PAI, The University of British Columbia

Poetics of Time and Identity in Hong Kong Lyrics: A Digital Investigation
Catherine WONG, Hang Seng University of Hong Kong
Charles LAM, Hang Seng University of Hong Kong

Panel 7: Cantopop Studies (Sunday, 2 May 2021, 10:30–12:00)

Stephen Chu, The University of Hong Kong

Racial and Linguistic Intersectionality in the Hong Kong Music Scene
Cyril MA, Cultural Journalist

Cantopop in TVB Jade’s Variety Programmes: The Popularisation of Cantopop in the 1970s
Talyta Kei Tung LAM, The University of Hong Kong

​Hong Kong Local Children Rhymes Being a Part of Hong Kong Popular Culture
CHOI Tsz Kei, Donald, The University of Hong Kong

Panel 8: Popular Literature (Sunday, 2 May 2021, 13:00–14:30)

Gina Marchetti, The University of Hong Kong

The Haunted 80s: Horror and Hong Kong’s Anxiety of Transition
Danny Weng-kit CHAN, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Satirical Eros: The Extradition Bill Crisis and the Pornographic Stories of LIHKG Forum
Gabriel TSANG, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

​Re-Imagining the Romances in Hong Kong: From Transitional Period to Present
TSE Wing Tung, Jamie, The University of Hong Kong

Panel 9: Celebrity (Sunday, 2 May 2021, 15:00–16:30)

LI Yao-tai, Hong Kong Baptist University

Hong Kong Popular Culture and the Not-So-Popular Jackie Chan
Gina MARCHETTI, The University of Hong Kong

Comedizing Hong Kong: A Stand-Up Comedian’s Existentialist Monologue
TONG Chung Kit, Tommy, Hong Kong Baptist University

​Rethinking the Cultural Relations Between Hong Kong and China: The Chinese Reception Of Stephen Chow’s Films
Matthew M. CHEW, Hong Kong Baptist University

Roundtable (Sunday, 2 May 2021, 17:00–18:30)

​All participants